IMPORTANT PATIENT UPDATES

COVID-19 Vaccine Information (updated 3/1/2021)

As of March 1, 2021, there are three available vaccines against the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 in the US. These were developed by Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson. All three vaccines have been approved by the FDA for emergency use based on their efficacy and safety.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses, while the Johnson and Johnson vaccine requires only one dose.  In general, vaccination is expected to far outweigh any risk from the vaccine. At Rheumatology Associates, we believe that getting vaccinated is very important and we are urging all of our patients to get any of the available vaccines.

Should I adjust my medications around the time of vaccination?

When getting ready to receive your vaccine, please be aware that The American College of Rheumatology has recently published guidance regarding the use of immune suppressing medications around the time of the vaccine. Based on the available information, patients taking the following medications may continue them without change: Prednisone <20 mg/day (or glucocorticoid equivalent), sulfasalazine, leflunomide (Arava), mycophenolate (Cellcept, Myfortic), azathioprine (Imuran), oral cyclophosphamide, Enbrel (erelzi, eticovo), Humira (amjevita, cyltezo, hyrimoz, hadlima, hulio), Simponi, Simponi Aria, Remicade, Inflectra, Renflexis, Ixifi, Avsola, Cimzia, Actemra, Kevzara, Cosentyx, Taltz, Tremfya, Stelara, Kineret, Ilaris, Benlysta, Cyclosporine, and Tacrolimus.

Patients receiving other medications such as Methotrexate, Xeljanz, Olumiant, Rinvoq, Orencia (both self-injections and intravenous), Rituximab (truxima, ruxience, riabni) and intravenous Cyclophosphamide may benefit from temporarily holding the medication when receiving the vaccine if their disease is well controlled and may allow it. Before holding or making any changes to your medications, please contact your provider.

Who can get vaccinated right now in Texas?

The state of Texas continues to vaccinate people who belong to the 1B group. This includes people older than 65 years of age and those with certain medical conditions. Per the American College of Rheumatology Covid-19 vaccine task force, patients with autoimmune and inflammatory rheumatic diseases may be at increased risk of severe Covid-19 infection compared with the general population of similar age and sex. While the state of Texas does not specifically list autoimmune and inflammatory rheumatic diseases as high-risk conditions for Phase 1B vaccinations, patients who are on any of the medications listed in this document may qualify for vaccination now. Please sign up for a vaccine appointment or wait list and be sure to list your rheumatologic diagnosis and rheumatology medications in your health history.

Where can I get a vaccine for Covid-19?

Rheumatology Associates is not offering vaccination services against COVID-19 at this time, but please check our website frequently for new updates. If you are trying to find where to get vaccinated please check COVID-19 Vaccine Information (texas.gov) or call 211 for a referral to a local vaccine provider.

What should I do if I am diagnosed with Covid-19?

There are several monoclonal antibody treatments currently available for treatment of Covid-19 in patients who are at increased risk of progression to severe Covid-19. These one-time intravenous treatments must be given early in disease. If you have confirmed or strongly suspected Covid-19, please contact your PCP as soon as possible to discuss whether you may be a candidate for one of these treatments.  After you contact your PCP, let your rheumatologist know as there may be specific recommendations regarding what to do with your immune suppressing medications while you are ill.